New Schools Network provides a range of services to support free school applicants, all of which are free of charge. 

We have many resources and services that are available to all free school applicants, and we also have a more extensive support package - our Development Programme - that you can apply to join. More information on these services is below.

Make sure you register with NSN to get the latest news and alerts about our support.

Development Programme

The Development Programme includes an extensive range of support services, which we tailor according to your needs. It is free to access, like all our applicant support, but we ask applicants to apply to join the programme so that we can find out more about your proposal, and how we can best support you.

If you are planning on applying through the central route, find out more about applying to our Development Programme here.

Support for all groups

We have a range of services available that can be accessed by all applicants. Any group can access our detailed library of online resources or contact us with questions or information requests, and we run regular open-access events:

Innovation Incubator

NSN is interested in working with groups that want to bring new, innovative ideas into the classroom. Innovation is vital to driving school improvement and embedding a culture of creativity in which young people can thrive.

As part of our new Innovation Incubator programme, NSN provides free of charge support for groups interested in setting up an innovative free school specialising in areas such as tech or STEM, sport, culture or arts.

We want to hear from new organisations who can bring innovation to the education sector. We welcome interest from groups outside of education, such as National Governing Bodies or National Portfolio Organisations.

If you wish to find out more, please get in touch at

NSN does not

  • Write applications for groups: it is important that the application reflects your own work and capacity.
  • Advise you on the outcome of your application: we are not part of the DfE and only they can tell you whether you have been accepted.
  • Determine government policy: we will, like many charities, ask government to change policy but we are not part of the government.